Where has the gents gone?

The Spice Lounge, Norwich
(Review by Norwich Curry Club @NorwichCurry) 

The January gathering of the Norwich Curry Club took us to our usual venue of choice in Norwich, The Spice Lounge.

This restaurant was ground-breaking when it opened in Norwich and was a real break away from the traditional Indian restaurants in the city. Upon opening, it had a waterfall feature in its reception, Bollywood films playing on large screens and a funky decor, a far cry from its local rivals. Since then, other restaurants in the city have opened with a view to take its crown. However, its location and very good local reputation has meant that it still remains one of the best Indian restaurants around.

Upon entering this time, we found to our amusement, that there had been a minor refit since our last visit in November, with the biggest change for us, with bladders swollen by four pints of lager, was the relocation of the toilets. Normally, this is a trivial matter, but when nature calls as it so often does as soon as you enter any Indian restaurant, the relocation of the facilities is disturbing. The toilets in fact have not only moved location, they have moved floors, with their relocation being made to the ground floor, which used to be a ‘Mr Ben’ like area where your coats were stored then swiftly returned at the end of the meal before you ventured out into the Norwich streets. Not only have the toilets moved, but they are now even more confusing, with single cubicles for both men and women. So much so, that it became a challenge, with our most inebriated member taking 15 minutes to return from his toilet trip, despite it being a ‘standing up job’ only.

Despite ‘toilet-gate’, the rest of the restaurant has undergone a nice sprucing up, and instead of being placed in our usual ‘noisy corner’ reserved almost exclusively for all male groups, we were placed in the middle of the restaurant on a circular table. This was a welcome move as it gave us a full panoramic view of all facilities, always a winner.

Starters are a non-event for our curry club meetings, and although I do enjoy a Prawn Puree (£3.10) now and then, this is very infrequent. So, it was two poppadoms each (55p each), and then the usual pickle roulette arrived. As per usual, both were excellent, with the poppadoms being crunchy and crisp and the onion salad in particular being very palatable.

The menu has slightly changed, so for three of us, who usually plump for Chicken Jalfrezi (£6.35), decided to try the Naga Chicken with our boiled rice (£1.90). Re-assured by the excellent waiter who recognises us from our many visit that it was “between Madras and Jalfrezi strength”, it was swiftly ordered. It did not disappoint and its deep intense slightly peppery flavour went very well with the Keema Naan (£1.95). Bindi Bhaji (£2.35) was our solitary side order and this was also up to the usual standard.

Two pints later, the conversation had turned to first jobs and career history pre-curry club, which brought out some unusual revelations and amusing stories. It’s safe to say now that anybody wanting their drive tarmacked will now know where to come…

I am not quite sure where our coats are stored now, but they were returned at the end of the night, and for £17 each it was another good trip to The Spice Lounge

The Spice Lounge, 8-10 Wensum Street, Norwich, NR3 1HR Tel: 0163 766602. Open: daily noon-2pm, 6pm-midnight.

The Spice Lounge snapshot

Food ① ② ③ ④ ⑤

Decor ① ② ③ ④

Value ① ② ③ ④

Atmosphere ① ② ③ ④ ⑤

Service and friendliness ① ② ③ ④

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